Sunday, August 14, 2011
Patriots Special Teams Get A Greek Infusion
Bruins head coach Claude Julien is renown for his love of the fourth line scrubs (the Fribble Crew as dubbed by Michael Felger) but I would also submit that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a similar love for special teams guys in the NFL. Like Julien, he can't get enough of them but like everything that Coach Hoodie does, there's logic and reason behind it.
Most people on the outside overlook the work of special teams players; it's a position filled with many injuries and little glory but as the Patriots showed in 2001-02 and during their other Super Bowl wins in 2002-03 and 2003-04, having coverage units and return teams you can count on (not to mention a reliable kicker and punter) are a key part of the close contests that litter the NFL playoffs.
When I heard last week that the Pats had worked out linebacker Niko Koutouvides, I didn't bother mentioning it since I had honestly never heard of him so I didn't think it was relevant. My apologies to Mr. Koutouvides and his extended family as he signed with New England today and it turns out that he's been in the NFL for seven seasons (who knew?). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Koutouvides is 6-2, 238 pounds and he has played with the Seattle Seahawks (2004-07), Denver Broncos (2008) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010). He originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick (116th overall) of Seattle in 2004 out of Purdue University. After four seasons with the Seahawks, he signed with Denver as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. He was released by Denver after the season and signed with Tampa Bay in the 2009 offseason.
Koutouvides has played in 103 games with two starts and registered 101 special teams tackles and 54 total tackles on defense. He has also played in eight postseason games, including Super Bowl XL while with Seattle (when they got screwed by the shady refs against the Steelers).
So yeah, if you're Greek and you like the Patriots, it's fair to say that you have a new favorite player. Just make sure that if you get his jersey that you don't go to the bathroom or get food or drinks during kickoffs and punt returns since you'll most likely miss your guy doing his thing on the field.